School is out and summer is finally here, which means more time outdoors with the family! Although popular outdoor summertime activities are wonderful family-bonding experiences, they also come with risks we need to be aware of. On behalf of the National Weather Service (NWS) and their lightning expert, John Jensenius, here are some invaluable summertime tips to keep your family safe this summer.
Some facts about lightning to keep your family safe:
· Most lightning victims are close to safe shelter but wait too long to get there.
· About 34% are outside, far from safe shelter, engaging in activities like bicycling, hiking, camping, and fishing, common family activities for the summer months.
· Over 60% of lightning fatalities happen when people are engaged in leisure activities.
· Lightning injuries often leave victims with serious life-long disabilities, depression, job loss and family breakups.
· 80% of lightning victims are male. Men will make better choices if they believe their actions will have an impact on their families. Social science shows that women are influential in getting the men in their lives to make smart choices when it comes to health and safety.
Update: There has been debate about whether or not you should go inside if you hear thunder, but don’t see lightning. The National Weather Service recommends, in order to keep your family safe, if you hear thunder, assume lightning will follow. Seek shelter immediately. Do not wait until you actually see the lightning.
You can help ensure your friends, family, and others in your circle of influence don’t become part of these statistics by sharing lightning safety tips.
Lightning casualties are preventable IF we understand lightning safety rules and take responsibility to follow them. Together, we can help spread this information. To find out more, please visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.